By Heather Bellow Thursday, Jan. 5, 2016
A stand of hemlocks in Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, which will be cleared for the proposed path of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s new storage loop. Native American Tribal preservationists are concerned about the possible destruction or tampering with sacred ceremonial stone sites along the 3.8-mile pipeline path and are working with the Kinder Morgan subsidiary to identify and avoid them. But the company says there are some that it may not be able to save.
Sandisfield MA — A letter from a Narragansett Indian Tribal official to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) accuses FERC of understating the “likely” destruction of “ancient ceremonial stone landscape features” along the path of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s proposed new storage loop through Otis State Forest.
At the edge of the old-growth forest in Otis State Forest, some of which Tennessee Gas Company will clear to widen a pipeline corridor for its new storage loop. Photo: Heather Bellow
In his Jan. 3, 2017, letter, Doug Harris, the Narragansett Tribal Nation’s deputy tribal historic preservation officer and preservationist for ceremonial landscapes, said FERC’s Dec. 29, 2016, letter to Reid Nelson, director at ACHP, which was copied to preservationists from seven different tribes, “mildly portrays the dire” consequences of “bulldozing” sacred features on the company’s newly acquired easement there... Harris says while FERC’s letter does concede that, pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, the company’s Connecticut Expansion Project will have an “adverse effect on historic properties (multiple ceremonial landscape features in Berkshire County, MA)” but “avoids the destructive truth of desecration and the lack of Tribal participation in the resolution… FERC sent a December letter to Nelson asking him to weigh in on the situation since “the Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has chosen not to…””
SHPO falls under the aegis of the Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. Spokesperson Brian McNiff said the office is reviewing the situation and that a statement is forthcoming.
But Harris told the Edge he thinks he knows why Massachusetts is staying out of it. “The SHPO has a problem,” he said, acknowledging ceremonial stones...”
At one time several years back, part of my job involved providing some "recreational driving around" therapy up in that Colebrook CT/Sandisfield MA area, often noting possible (well, obvious) features of an Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape. Nice to have a corroborating second opinion. I'd actually just been thinking about that a couple days ago when I read this: “Going back to the point where the roads diverge at Scoville’s barn, a few hundred yards east will be found a few rocks delineating the spot Henry Manassa’s shack stood, using a large glacial erratic as the northwest wall...”